Star Wars, one of the most iconic and successful franchises in the world, originated not from the pages of a book but from the silver screen. The saga, created by filmmaker George Lucas, began with the 1977 film, “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”. Despite its vast and complex universe that feels ripe for literary adaptation, the answer to the question, “Was Star Wars a book first?” is no. However, the relationship between Star Wars and the written word is complex and multifaceted.
The Origins of Star Wars
George Lucas conceived Star Wars as a film. His vision was heavily influenced by a myriad of sources, including mythology, classic literature, and vintage film serials. After multiple drafts and countless hours of world-building, Lucas created the script for “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”, which went on to revolutionize the film industry and popular culture.
Lucas’s vision translated into a space opera that combined fantastic elements with relatable human drama, an adventure filled with strange worlds, exotic creatures, and a conflict between good and evil. It is the cinematic birthplace of Star Wars, and all other materials – including books – have their roots in these films.
The Star Wars Expanded Universe
While Star Wars didn’t start as a book, the franchise’s universe was greatly expanded through literature. Shortly after the release of the original film, the Star Wars universe grew to include novels, comic books, video games, and animated series. This collection of material is known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU), now officially rebranded as Star Wars Legends.
Books in the Star Wars Legends range explored everything from the ancient history of the Jedi and Sith, to the future of the galaxy far, far away. They provided backstories to beloved characters, introduced new heroes and villains, and filled gaps between films.
Star Wars Canon and the Role of Books
In 2014, Lucasfilm announced that to maintain a cohesive and unified canon leading up to the release of “The Force Awakens”, much of the existing Expanded Universe would be rebranded as Legends, effectively becoming non-canon. Only the films, the animated series “The Clone Wars”, and material published after this point would be considered official canon.
However, books continue to play a crucial role in the Star Wars universe. Numerous new canon novels have been released, providing fresh insights and exploring different corners of the galaxy. These works are all closely tied to the continuity established in the films and are seen as an essential part of the Star Wars narrative fabric.